Clay Chastain Warns: New KCI Is Just A Big, Ugly Parking Lot

Kansas City's foremost transit activist offers his perspective on this town's biggest construction project and how it might be looking backward instead of forward.

Given that he's the only guy to ever win a citywide light rail vote, his comments are worth considering: 

Clay Chastain: "Here we go again with another urban planning disaster for Kansas City.....KC's new airport has no rail connection to Downtown, but does come with an offensive 6,300-space multilevel concrete parking cube that obliterates the front of the terminal."

It appears a time warp has propelled present day Kansas City transportation planners back to the 1950's...slow-moving streetcars (with overhead wires) operating in traffic, diesel buses for public transit and a plethora of parking facilities to encourage use of the private, expensive and polluting automobile. 

If you want to see ugly, go to KCI (bring something to cry into) and observe the mammoth-sized (two football fields) beauty of a multilevel concrete parking garage that obscures and overpowers the entry to the new airport terminal.
If you want to see stupid, notice City planners did not design into the new single terminal any provisions for connecting the distant airport terminal to Downtown with an advanced rail system.
If you want to see insensitive, realize all the millions of tons of carbon Kansas City cars will spew on their way to and from distant KCI in the 50-years to come! Not to mention, all the concrete and energy consumed building that parking monstrosity.

Instead of providing a modest parking garage (in tandem with a new rapid, elevated and quiet Monorail System), City planners gave Kansas City something else - no choice but to fight traffic, waste their time driving, blow their money on expensive gas and then pay to park. If City planners had another brain it would be lonesome. Such a sophomoric planning debacle (amid a fuel crisis and a world desperately trying to go Green) does not comport with a "Smart City", a "Green City" nor even a... Real City!

Fortunately, caring people can step up and sign a petition that will do what City planners and City leaders have failed to do - provide people an antidote to counteract $6 a gallon gas and environmental degradation - a "Green Alternative Transportation System" that includes connecting KCI to Downtown with an advanced, elevated and efficient Monorail System.

Everyone can easily access the Airport Monorail at the new (centrally located) Union Station Regional Transportation Center. Regional Express (nonstop) Buses will connect to Union Station from all over the metro. The Central City's new "Ultra Light Rail" System (operating on a new "Greenway" Network) and a new City Electric Bus System will also connect to Union Station.  All these convenient transportation connections to the Airport Monorail Spine at Union Station (along with northland Monorail users) will assure high ridership on the Monorail.

The Monorail is the perfect rail fit for KCI because not only can it handle the long distances and steeper grades going through the northland (as well as avoid all traffic and grade crossing issues), it will only have two stops (Vivion Road & Barry Road), thus reducing transit time and the need for multiple numbers of expensive elevated rail stations. The Airport Monorail will make a beautiful, efficient presentation of Kansas City to the outside world. It will save people time, money and hassle. It will aid the environment. It will be the City's Flagrail. There will be nothing comparable to it in the country.

So the people can still fix KCI by signing the petition and voting it into law this November. As to the lovely KCI parking garage... it will stand as stark testimony to how bad things got before the people took charge to reconfigure their community into a more Green, Affordable and Transit-oriented City via the 2022 Petition Initiative.

Kansas City Activist, Clay Chastain


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